Secret Kehena Black Sand Beach in the Puna Coast of the Big Island, Hawaii (updated 2023)

Kehena beach is one of those special places on the Puna coast that locals and visitors love to enjoy a whole day on the black sand beach along the rugged Puna coastline. If you’re driving the scenic Red Road and exploring beautiful places like Pohoiki (another black sand beach) and MacKenzie State Park, make sure that you also have some time to visit Kehena beach, an alternative and off beat spot on the Puna Coast. Off beat in terms of funky, free and open-minded spirits and alternative lifestyles people enjoy here which is also clothing optional.

Secret Kehena Black Sand Beach in the Puna Coast of the Big Island, Hawaii

How to get to Kehena Beach

Located on the Red Road or the Kalapana – Kapoho road, Kehena beach can be reached from Pahoa town from Hwy 130 and left right at the Junction Hwy 137 towards Pahoa area. The Beach is about another 4 miles northeast and you’ll start seeing a smaller housing community of Kehena, you’ll notice that there is a parking spots and viewing area and cars parked alongside the road, this is where you should stop and park.

How to get to Kehena Beach

Trail down to Kehena Beach

Walk back on the street a short distance and you’ll notice a small trail that leads to the ocean, the trail leads to the cliffs and there is a small pathway down the rocky areas onto the beach is quite steep and dangerous (be extremely careful on the rocks because they are jagged and sharp, walking shoes is advisable on the climb down). There is a final drop that during high tide the waves actually go right up to so timing is important on the landing and not to get wet when you enter the beach area. Just note that gatherings on the other side tend to be more of the alternative and clothing optional groups. (although the entire beach is pretty much naked and people are friendly)

There is another option to hike down further down the road, but you’ll have to spot and follow some regulars to show you the pathway down.

Trail down to Kehena Beach

How did Kehena become a clothing optional beach?

Partially with Pahoa town starting as a hippy place in the early 70s and the areas around Kehena and Sea View being mostly bohemians, gays and alternative lifestyle groups living in the area, Kehena beach naturally became a regular hangout spot and actually only clothing optional beach on the Puna Coastline.

If naked beaches aren’t your thing, there is also a large black sand beach at Pohoiki further down the red road with some hot ponds that are more family friendly. Sundays are the big Sunday gatherings with drum circles, chanters and singers and the typical naked dancer and fire dancer. Most other days are relatively low key and quiet on the beach area.

Trail down to Kehena Beach

Trail down to Kehena Beach

The walk down the cliffs is short but also very jagged and dangerous so wear solid shoes climbing down the rocks.

There are no bathroom facilities on the beach so prepare ahead of time before or after you go to the beach area.

Take out the trash that you bring in.

This is an alternative beach so don’t go if you have an hang ups with clothing optional beaches.

There are a few vendors above the cliffs that sell coconuts and other refreshments or snacks if you didn’t bring any.

The beach is rough at times and has strong undertow, watch and see how locals get in and out of the beach safely before you try to get into the water.

Other places to visit in the area

Weather and best time to visit the Puna District of Hawaii

The Puna District in Hawaii has a tropical rainforest climate, so it’s relatively warm and humid year-round. The best time to visit depends on your preferences:

Dry Season (April to October): This is considered the best time to visit Puna. The weather is generally drier and sunnier during these months, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the district’s natural beauty. However, keep in mind that even in the dry season, occasional rain showers are possible in Puna due to its tropical climate.

Wet Season (November to March): This period sees more rainfall, which can result in lush green landscapes, but it might limit some outdoor activities. The lush vegetation and waterfalls are at their most vibrant during this time.

Temperature: Puna has warm temperatures throughout the year, with highs ranging from the mid-70s to low-80s Fahrenheit (24-28°C). Evenings are slightly cooler, so packing some light layers is a good idea.

Crowds: Puna is generally less crowded compared to other parts of Hawaii, but it can get busier during peak tourist seasons, which typically align with the dry season.

Lava Viewing: If you’re interested in seeing active lava flows, it’s important to note that the availability of lava viewing can change, and it’s not guaranteed. You should check with local authorities for the latest information on lava activity.

In summary, the best time to visit the Puna District depends on your preferences for weather and outdoor activities. If you want to enjoy sunnier and drier conditions, plan your trip during the dry season from April to October. If you prefer lush, green landscapes and are less concerned about occasional rain, the wet season from November to March might be your preference.

Further reading for Puna area attractions

Explore the black sand beach at Pohoiki Isaac Hale Beach Park

Visit the botanical garden and historic Lava Tree State Park

Enjoy the colorful interiors and history of the Painted Church in Kalapana

Explore old and new Pahoa Town

Explore the new Kapoho black sand beach with no name

Visit the Sunday Maku’u market outside Pahoa

Visit the gorgeous cliffs at MacKenzie State Park

Red Road Hawaii – Kalapana Kapoho road – This Hawaii Life

Have you visited Kehena Beach?

Have you visited Kehena Beach?

Enjoyed your visit here or any other tips to share? Please share on the comments below.

Conclusion to visiting Kehena Beach in Puna

Visiting Kehena Beach in Puna promises a unique and memorable experience. This secluded black sand beach, nestled amidst a lush tropical landscape, offers a tranquil escape for those seeking natural beauty and a break from the crowds. However, it’s important to be mindful of the strong currents and potentially hazardous conditions in the water. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery, but exercise caution while swimming. With respect for the environment and awareness of the ocean’s power, a visit to Kehena Beach can be a truly rewarding adventure in the Puna District of Hawaii.

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.